Appeal Court holds special session in Bayelsa to clear backlog of cases

As part of efforts to clear the backlog of appeals filed before it, the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday began a two-week special session in Bayelsa State.

This is the fourth of such session in the state as the presiding justice, Justice A.B. Gumel, yesterday, led other justices to the inaugural session.The appellate court would sit over pending appeals in the state for two weeks as the state is said to constitute 35 per cent of the over 3,000 pending appeals.

Besides the justices of the Court of Appeal, the inaugural session had in attendance the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri; Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Mr. Kemasuode Wodu; Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Yenagoa branch, Mr. Eric Derie; judges in the state, Senior Advocates of Nigeria and scores of lawyers.

In her remarks, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, requested for a division of the court to be established in Yenagoa.She said having a division of the appellate court would minimise the cost of litigation as the court would be within 500 metres away from the State High Court, the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court, which are trial courts.

Abiri said the goal of the nation’s judiciary in the area of access to justice and quick dispensation of justice would equally be achieved.On his part, the state’s Attorney General, reechoed the request by Justice Abiri, noting that Bayelsa State is largely riverine and that siting a division in Yenagoa would save cost to the litigants , both in terms of time, money and effort for them to attend to matters in COA Port Harcourt.

The NBA Chairman, Yenagoa chapter, Eric Derie, said the establishment of COA in Bayelsa would reduce the cost of prosecuting appeals and will really boost legal activities within the jurisdiction.

Speaking to the members of the bar and the bench, Gumel urged lawyers to seize the opportunity of the sitting in Bayelsa to prove their mettle.On the request for the establishment of Yenagoa division of the Court of Appeal, he said it was not within their powers to do so.

He, however, said if their opinions were sought, they would make positive recommendations for the siting of a division in the state.‘’I wish to point out that it is not within our competence to comment on the request for the building of Court of Appeal in Bayelsa. But if our opinion matters in that regard, I will assure you that we will make the best of positive recommendations.’’


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